A Night In Old New Orleans
Featuring Vernel Bagneris
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Orange Kellin's A Night In Old New Orleans featuring Vernel Bagneris brings seasoned performers that will thrill listeners with sounds of old New Orleans.
A native of New Orleans, Vernel Bagneris was raised in an area of the city peopled by Creoles and rich with music. He developed an attraction to and feeling for the music and the colorful culture of which he was to prove himself an important part. Bagneris began to direct his energies towards developing theatrical ventures in his home town and in 1978 he wrote a show that recreated the kind of vaudeville performance that had been immensely popular decades before his birth. The show, which was set on- and off-stage in a New Orleans theatre in 1926, was called One Mo' Time. After running for six months in the city, the show moved to New York, where it ran for three and a half years at the Village Gate, spawning numerous touring companies and playing overseas, including an 18-month spell in London’s West End.
Bagneris also pursued his acting career, appearing in the Hollywood version of Dennis Potter’s Pennies From Heaven (1981) with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters, and in the Tom Waits vehicle, Down By Law (1986).
He choreographed and acted in Taylor Hackford’s Ray (2007) and choreographed the movie Bessie (2014).
He has also acted on television, including a recurring role for three seasons in David Simon‘s Treme (2012).
In theatre, Bagneris also wrote other shows, including a sequel to One Mo' Time, the critically acclaimed Further Mo‘, the New York run of which suffered from the advent of the Gulf War despite even better notices than One Mo' Time, Staggerlee, which starred Ruth Brown and Allen Toussaint, and Jelly Roll, in which Bagneris was accompanied by pianist Morten Gunnar Larsen.
For Jelly Roll, a show based upon the racy life, timeless music and the actual words of Jelly Roll Morton, Bagneris, Larsen and the show won high critical acclaim, including Obie Awards, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award, including Best Off-Broadway Musical. Jelly Roll premiered in its entirety at the Oslo Jazz Festival, while in New York by the mid-90s it had moved into Manhattan’s 47th Street Theatre.
Bagneris has consistently proved himself to be a major figure of the American theatre and while he has always worked out of the great tradition of black music and culture, his approach, his skills and his integrity have been such that he has been able to attract and retain audiences of all races and cultural backgrounds.
Directly from New Orleans, music arranger and clarinetist Orange Kellin brings a trio of hot New Orleans musicians – piano, clarinet and percussion – to play the elegant, thrilling and undeniably infectious Big Easy sounds of yesteryear. Joining Orange and his trio is the creator and director of One Mo' Time, Vernel Bagneris, acting, singing and dancing the irresistible, dazzling, show-stopping numbers from his shows plus many more.
Orange Kellin may be best known for being one of the creative originators of the mega hit stage musical One Mo' Time, where he was musical director and clarinetist in the on-stage jazz band. Charles Isherwood (currently NY Times) enthused in the Variety review of the 2002 Broadway production: "Fleet-fingered clarinet player Orange Kellin(s)... solos alone are practically worth the price of admission." But Mr. Kellin has had a long and illustrious career, and has been distinguished as a leading jazz clarinetist, since his arrival in New Orleans, in 1966. Within a month, he was offered a recording session with DeDe Pierce and joined the Black local of the Musicians Union. A long list of recordings over many years with the New Orleans jazz pioneers followed.
Throughout the '70s, Mr. Kellin became instrumental in bringing out of obscurity important old time players including as members of his band, The New Orleans Joymakers, through tours in the United States and Europe and several recordings. He also played and toured frequently with other groups which had him cross paths with many jazz legends. For example, he has recorded and/or broadcast with Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Ray Bauduc, Georg Brunis, Max Kaminsky and Zutty Singelton among many others. A highlight was accompanying Louis Armstrong at Satchmo's 70th Birthday Concert at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1970.
The original cast album for One Mo' Time, for which Mr. Kellin was musical director and and played the clarinet, earned a Grammy Award nomination. He also plays on the Oscar nominated soundtrack and appeared in the Louis Malle film Pretty Baby.
The monumental success of One Mo' Time spawned seven touring companies around the world, a critically acclaimed 1990 sequel, Further Mo' and the touring group The New Orleans Blue Serenaders that Mr. Kellin organized featuring musicians and vocalists from the shows. They have toured extensively and recorded for GHB and Southern Skies Records. The New Orleans Blue Serenaders went on to star in the 2002 Broadway revival of One Mo' Time and subsequently touring the US.
In 2004, Mr. Kellin formed the Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra which held residencies at Manhattan supper clubs, toured the US and Europe, and was comprised of some of the most outstanding and well-known musicians in New York City that specialize in vintage jazz. Their CDs earned superlative critical notices.
In 2010 in New Orleans, he organized the New Orleans DeLuxe Orchestra, to play in a semi-arranged fashion the music from the heyday of Classic Jazz with an emphasis on New Orleans related material from the teens and 1920s. This eight piece group has appeared both locally and abroad since its inception, most notably at the I Love Jazz Festival of Brazil and annually at the New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Festival.
In 2014 he organized the touring venture, An Evening In Old New Orleans, presenting a program of vintage New Orleans song and dance, starring Vernel Bagneris.
Since 1979, Mr. Kellin has divided his time between New Orleans and New York City, keeping a residence in both cities.
Joining Mr. Kellin and Mr. Bagneris will be pianist and singer Steve Pistorius, generally acknowledged as the finest in the city, and drummer, Walter Harris, both veterans of the New Orleans traditional jazz scene, regulars at Preservation Hall and countless appearances with various New Orleans bands and singers.